Greg JohnsonShelley Harrison-Valdivia, granddaughter of Al Harrison, accepts a Pillar award from the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas at its 43rd annual convention Nov. 5 in Tubac, Ariz. Al Harrison founded Al Harrison & Sons, Nogales, Ariz., and was a pioneer in the watermelon importing and marketing industry. Harrison-Valdivia is vice president at Harrison Co.TUBAC, Ariz. — Two Nogales produce legends were honored at the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas 43rd annual convention.
The 2nd annual Pillars of the FPAA on Nov. 5 recognized Al Harrison and Walter Holm, and the awards were accepted by Al Harrison’s grandson Brent Harrison and Walter Holm’s son Axel Holm, respectively.
Al Harrison founded Al Harrison & Sons, a pioneer in watermelon importation and promotion, so much that Harrison was known as the “Watermelon King.”
Harrison died in 1985 at the age of 74.
Brent Harrison, president of Al Harrison Produce Co., Nogales, and his sister and company vice president Shelley Harrison-Valdivia, said their grandfather was an inspiration for their careers.
Walter Holm sold tomatoes for a Mexican grower in the 1930s and in 1936, he founded Mexican Produce Company. Later he founded Walter Holm & Co. and build a packinghouse in downtown Nogales to sell “Holm Grown” brand tomatoes.
He was instrumental in growing the vine-ripened tomato deal, and in 1944 he was one of the four founding members of the West Mexico Vegetable Distributors Association, which would later become the FPAA.
Axel Holm said his father was the kind of leader who let others take the limelight, so he was proud his father was recognized in this way. Walter Holm died in 1986 at age 84.